Grand Island woman files lawsuit against Election Commissioner and Hall County
Grand Island resident and registered voter Judith Vohland filed a lawsuit on Thursday against Hall County and Election Commissioner Tracy Overstreet.
According to the lawsuit, Overstreet being appointed to her position by the Board of Supervisors and not elected by the people has been "preventing [Vohland] from voting in elections that are overseen and administered by a validly elected election commissioner and preventing her from voting for the office of Hall County Election Commissioner."
The lawsuit is supported by Civic Nebraska, a non profit organization who has been working to challenge the Nebraska law allowing counties over a certain population to allow County Boards to appoint Election Commissioners.
With the Nebraska constitution saying that all necessary county officers need to be elected by the people, Civic Nebraska reached out to the Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson. He released a statement agreeing that Election Commissioners are considered county officers.
In an interview with Local4, John Cartier, the Civic Nebraska Director of Voting Rights, said, "this lawsuit is a part of the effort to fix what we think is a serious issue of our state constitution being in violation of how we conduct our elections."
The goal moving forward is to remove Overstreet from her post and change that position to an elected one.
The Hall County Board of Supervisors Chair, Pam Lancaster, responded to the lawsuit with a press conference Friday. She said was always how the position has always been filled, but the board is not against making changes if they needed to.
"Four counties follow the same process," Lancaster said. "If indeed there now needs to be an adjustment, we will work with the legislature or whoever the responsible parties are to make that adjustment."
If they do make that adjustment, the current Election Commissioner Tracy Overstreet wasn't ready to answer if she would run for it.
"We'll have to see what happens," Overstreet said. "I'm not prepared to speak on the specifics of where this might go at this point in time so we'll have to address that if and when that time comes."
The Hall County Board plans to address this lawsuit further at their next regularly scheduled meeting taking place on Tuesday morning.